CARBONDALE, Ill. (KFVS) -SIU Carbondale joins both Murray State and Southeast Missouri State in offering four-year nursing degrees.
Three hundred pre-nursing students now have the chance to earn a Bachelor of Science in nursing at SIU starting in the fall of 2020.
Director of Health Sciences Scott Collins said, it started as just an idea.
“There was a Leadership meeting a little over a year ago and we were just brainstorming with ideas of what type of programs can we create that would be high demand,” he said.
Collins said students will have the option of what path they want to take.
An incoming nursing student will now be able to register as a freshman. A registered nurse with an associate degree can advance his or her education.
Collins explained the other option.
“The third and final track is the accelerated track where it’s for individuals who have worked towards a Bachelor of Science or in Bachelor of Arts. They will have almost 70 to 80 hours completed and then they can jump over and go into the nursing program," Collins said.
SIU Communications Chief Rae Goldsmith said, the new nursing program will have a major economic impact on the region.
“It will give people even greater confidence in the quality of health care that we provide," said Goldsmith.
Goldsmith said, with a pledge of up to $1 million by Southern Illinois Healthcare, these students will now be able to make a difference, and hopefully stay.
“The goal we want to bring students here, we want them to learn here,” she said.
The Illinois Board of Higher education also approved a doctoral program in occupational therapy and physical therapy that will be offered in a few years.